Understanding education as a right

the right to education is legally guaranteed for all without any discrimination

According to koodakpress، International human rights law guarantees the right to education. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted in 1948, proclaims in Article 26: ‘everyone has the right to education’.


Since then, the right to education has been widely recognised and developed by a number of international normative instruments elaborated by the United Nations, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966, CESCR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989, CRC), and the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960, CADE).


The right to education has also been reaffirmed in other treaties covering specific groups (women and girls, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, Indigenous Peoples, etc.) and contexts (education during armed conflicts). It has also been incorporated into various regional treaties and enshrined as a right in the vast majority of national constitutions.


Both individuals and society benefit from the right to education. It is fundamental for human, social, and economic development and a key element to achieving lasting peace and sustainable development. It is a powerful tool in developing the full potential of everyone and ensuring human dignity, and in promoting individual and collective wellbeing.


In brief:

  • it is an empowerment right
  • it lifts marginalised groups out of poverty
  • it is an indispensable means of realising other rights
  • it contributes to the full development of the human personality


The right to education encompasses both entitlements and freedoms, including the:

  • right to free and compulsory primary education
  • right to available and accessible secondary education (including technical and vocational education and training), made progressively free
  • right to equal access to higher education on the basis of capacity made progressively free
  • right to fundamental education for those who have not received or completed primary education
  • right to quality education both in public and private schools
  • freedom of parents to choose schools for their children which are in conformity with their religious and moral convictions
  • freedom of individuals and bodies to establish and direct education institutions in conformity with minimum standards established by the state
  • academic freedom of teachers and students
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